The account of American troops capturing Saddam and pulling him from his subterranean hovel has turned out to be just another Bush lie.
Sergeant Nadim Abou Rabeh, who participated in the operation that netted Saddam, was quoted in the Saudi newspaper “Al-Medina” saying that the Iraqi leader was actually captured the day before and that “the public version of his capture was fabricated.” The entire event was apparently choreographed by a Pentagon public relations team.
“I was among the 20 man unitwho searched for Saddam for 3 days in the area of Dour near Tikrit, and we found him in a modest home in a small village and not in a hole as announced,” Rabeh admitted. (UPI )
“Not in a hole”? You mean Saddam actually stood up and faced American Marines?
“WE CAPTURED HIM AFTER FIECE RESISTANCE DURING WHICH A MARINE OF SUDANESE ORGIN WAS KILLED,” he said.
Uh, oh. This could be trouble. After all, the American version presented Saddam as trembling coward cringing in his spider-hole afraid to face the American warriors. Now, Rabeh is saying that he stood and fought “like a man”. This is not the image that the Washington spin-meisters wanted to convey. They wanted to humiliate the deposed tyrant by showing him recoiling from the American ubermenschen. That way they could show the virtuousness of the invasion and bolster the importance of the White House chicken-hawks who follow the campaign from their bunkers on the Potomac.
Unfortunately, the entire story turned out to be bogus. Saddam may be a genocidal maniac, but anyone who knows the details of his personal history, knows he’s no coward. He scaled the ranks of the Ba’ath party through audacity, coercion and treachery. No one gets to the top spot on the Ba’ath food chain through squeamishness. The portrayal of Saddam as disoriented and fearful is pure performance-art; just like the suggestion that he was living underground is probably just a sham. (That part always seemed fishy) Most likely, he was drugged and dumped in the “spider-hole” to meet the requirements of (Bush’s) Hollywood production team. In fact, members of the Kurdish Peshmerga, who were operating in the vicinity at the time, disputed the administration’s sketchy narrative from the get-go. Their story was much more consistent with Sergeant Rabeh’s.
So, we can add another fairytale to the Bush chronicle of deception. The Saddam capture will feature prominently along with the other wartime fictions like Pat Tillman, Jessica Lynch, the phantom WMDs, and the toppling of Saddam’s statue in Fidros Square. Every one of these was skillfully fashioned by a Bush PR team trying to maximize public approval by creating a storybook narrative. It’s 100% baloney.
The whole incident smacks of Rumsfeld’s “Strategic Information” program; a new department entirely devoted to stage-managing events like Saddam’s arrest. Apparently, the War Dept wants to downplay the daily carnage by orchestrating phony “docu-dramas” for the folks at home. Well, they’d better turn it up a notch. Bush’s clumsy vaudeville may be designed to draw more support for the war, but box-office flops like this can really take a chunk out of one’s credibility.
MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He can be reached at: [email protected]